Welcome to our series called Fargo Moms to Know! We will feature moms right here in our local community to highlight the wonderful things they are doing as mothers, business owners, community members, and friends. If you’d like to nominate someone to be features in our Fargo Moms to Know series, contact us through the form below!
Meet Martha Mink!
How many kids do you have?
I have two children! James Pierre (JP), born in 2015 and now an angel-baby, and Jacqueline James (JJ), two years old, and currently attending CobberKids daycare.
How long have you lived in the FM area and what brought you here?
We moved to Fargo/Moorhead in 2016 after spending five years in Los Angeles, where my husband was raised. After the loss of our son, we wanted to move closer to my parents, and we were attracted to the job opportunities and the “not-too-big/not-too-small” feel that Fargo/Moorhead provided.
What’s your “day job”?
During the day, I work in Admission Operations at Concordia College. My other full-time job (other than parenting) is working as the Business Operations Coordinator for Dear NICU Mama (DNM), a non-profit I founded with my dear friend Ashley Ham in 2019. Dear NICU Mama provides support, education, and connection for mothers who have or had children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Ashley and I met over Instagram when her son was in the NICU and my daughter was six months out. We bonded over the feelings of isolation and trauma that often arise in the NICU. We realized there was a need in our community for an organization like ours. Through our celebration photo shoots, online education/advocacy, the Dear NICU Mama podcast, and our Mama Ambassador peer support program, we have seen MIRACLES happen in women’s lives.
I personally can testify to how healing and transformative it has been to befriend NICU mamas from around the globe. In our organization, I like to say that Ashley has the heart, creativity, and passion, and I’m GREAT at paperwork. It’s an honor to be a part of the DNM team!
How do you balance working, running a non-profit, and being a mom?
I am so blessed to have an incredibly supportive spouse AND business partner. My husband knows how doing the work of Dear NICU Mama empowers and heals me. He and my daughter are my biggest cheerleaders when I have to miss bedtime for podcast recordings or stay up late answering emails. That being said, balancing my two worlds is a daily and intentional effort. Ashley, our leadership team, and I have extensive discussions about maintaining boundaries, practicing self-care, and putting our families first. We are constantly checking-in with one another to assess workload and availability, and we encourage each other to be honest with our needs. I’ve learned so much about balancing professional and personal life well from Ashley. She is an incredible leader.
What do you like about raising a family here?
Fargo-Moorhead has a small town feel, but with an increasing array of amenities you can find in a big city. Great school districts, paired with lots of family-friendly businesses, activities, and festivals make it a great place to raise a family. It’s also such an affordable housing market compared to other places we’ve lived. It makes it possible to own or rent in a great place near parks, downtown, or restaurants.
What is challenging about raising a family here?
The winters can be hard. I’ve learned that the weather has a huge impact on my mental health, and I feel like I run out of activities to do with my daughter when it’s too cold to go out for long periods of time.
What is your favorite local thing to do/place to go?
Pre-COVID we loved to walk up and down Broadway and explore the downtown area. Early Saturday morning was a perfect time to grab donuts at Sandy’s and stop by Zanbroz for a handmade greeting card or new book. We also get a TON of use out of all the parks.
Is there a hidden gem in Fargo-Moorhead that you love?
Our daughter is obsessed with the Northern Plains Botanical Garden in Fargo. The Children’s Garden is so sweet. We go early on Sundays with a cup of coffee and let her run around. Often, it’ll just be us and the butterflies. It’s magical!
How can Fargo better serve you as a mom?
We have a few PHENOMENAL mental health care practices dedicated to maternal health care (Prairieland Counseling and Becoming Balanced, to name a few). However, with our growing population, we could always use more support for women. I would also love to see more community-building opportunities for moms; especially for working moms, entrepreneur moms, or just plain insanely busy moms.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other moms in Fargo?
Give yourself the MOST grace you ever had during these “unprecedented” times. Don’t forget to look back and see what you’ve accomplished in the past six months, when the odds were stacked against you. And if no one has told you lately, I’m freakin’ proud of you!
Thank you, Martha, for sharing with us about your life and allowing us to feature you in our Fargo Moms to Know series!
More about Martha and Dear NICU Mama:
Martha Mink is a co-founder of Dear NICU Mama, a nonprofit dedicated to empowerment, connection, education, and support for past and present NICU moms. Mom to angel-baby JP (born at 25 weeks gestation) and JJ (born at 29 weeks gestation), Martha’s experiences during and after her two NICU stays, as well the death of her son, left her navigating significant mental health issues. After years of counseling, research, and relationship-building, she realized that community had transformational powers for mamas going through their NICU journey. Martha’s goal is to reach every NICU Mama with the message, “You are not alone.”